Sailor Spotlight: Russ Lucas
Russ Lucas is a very recognizable face on Barnegat Bay. Russ lives and breathes sailing at Bay Head Yacht Club, and now he's the fleet captain of the BBYRA. He's a fantastic sailor, having won 10 Duck Boat World Champs, 2 E-Scow Easterns, 1 E-Scow Blue Chip, a Melges 20 Nationals, and everything in between. Most importantly though, Russ really gives back to sailing on the bay -- he hosts fundraisers at his house, organizes Dave Dellenbaugh Rules Talks before the season starts, and has recently gotten involved in the SAFE sailing at Mill Creek by taking out non-sailors and introducing them to our sport. His passion for sailing on the bay is nothing short of commendable, and we are incredibly lucky to have him promoting sailing.
Name: Russ Lucas
Yacht Club: Bay Head Yacht Club
1) Russ, you grew up sailing at Bay Head YC in many different boats. You're a champion in many classes. What about growing up on the bay helped you become the sailor you are today? Growing up in Bay Head was the key. The top award for kids and adults was a Seamanship Sportsmanship Flag. Having that view that you wanted to win, but also be really good at all the little stuff like proper knots, preparation, tuning your boat, caring for her etc made a big impact on me and my buddies. Our Dads and their friends showed us the way, and I hope we have done that for our children.
2) Good segue! The Lucas family has been omnipresent on Barnegat Bay for many years. Your dad is a great sailor, all of your siblings sailed, and all of your kids have gone through the program. Settle something for me. Excluding yourself, who are the three most talented Lucas family sailors and what do they do really well? Nice. Ok. There are 14 grandkids, 6 kids and the master himself (my father George - or Dust as the grandkids call him).
First, I have to start with Dust- my dad. At every level of messing around with and in boats, my dad is the champ. I could go on for days, but what I will always point out is whenever a new person is on a boat with him Dust finds a time to suggest that they simply put their hand in the water and simply feel the boat go thru the Bay.
Second is my daughter Molly. After years sailing under the eye of Terry Kempton and great coaches, Molly had a breakout season as a skipper. I proudly watched in wonder as she would carve thru a 420 fleet and so intelligently and patiently work up to the front. Like her grandfather she also loved rigging, tuning and fixing her boats, especially glass and epoxy work. Then she became the best female E Scow skipper ever, qualifying for Blue Chips 2x as skipper.
Finally is a tie between my daughter Grace and niece Jane Rew. Grace from day one showed a wonderful and instinctive touch on the helm. She was born with a strong sense of urgency and that led to wanting to help the boat get thru the water fast. Jane Rew (Now Jane Buckley) was her crew and tactician for many years. Jane became the captain of the Hobart Sailing Team and is one of the best overall sailors, racers, tactican and kite trimmers I have ever sailed with. Listening to Grace and Jane count down till I was to tack never got me in trouble.
3) This past week was the Duck Boat Worlds at Mantoloking Yacht Club. You're a multi-Duck Boat World Champ. Tell me about the regatta and what makes it so special. I have been connected to the World Ducks regatta since I was 9 years old, 49 years now. I always saw it as a goal to put BHYC on the map and be the first Champ outside the lock MYC had on this Worlds. I became aware of racing against the great ones from MYC and how they made decisions that I could use myself. Gardner Cox waved me by on port once... so I asked him at lunch and got a new move. Watching Peter Commette sit above the line checking wind till last second. His starting routine became mine...
So along the way I won 10x and plan to try to win 11 and more in the future swapping skipper and PRO duties for the rest of my life. The secret to Duckboat sailing works in every boat.. Keep her moving and in puffs--- ease- hike- trim....
DUCK BOAT WORLDS RESULTS
4) This year was actually the 50th Anniversary of the Duck Boat Worlds. What did you guys do to commemorate that milestone? The 50th Worlds-- 76 boats- the smiles and joy of this day connects the yacht clubs on the bay and brings together seniors and juniors like no other. The joy and success in sailing for life is when we are together- multiple generations- families and friends- history and those who want to be part of the future. This year they had a "Champion of Champions" regatta for all past winners. It was a really cool way to bring back previous winners commemorate the whole event.
5) You are the fleet captain of the BBYRA. You're also very involved in the SAFE sailing at Mill Creek. Can you tell me how the bay is doing and what opportunities you see out there for others? Today I am racing less and finding my connections on the Bay with a sailing program in Pine Beach called SAFE sailing. This is under OCC and helps phsyically and emotionally disabled people. My particluar focus is directed towards people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction that we call "Repairs can be made at Sea". This also includes people with PTSD and former prisoners of Newark Prisons to try to cultivate hope for sustainable change in their lives.